How tall do you think the Trojan Horse stood? How long was it? No exact measurements withstood the time since that epic battle. Whatever its size, it fooled the people of Troy who took it into their city. Unknown to them, it hid a batch of Greek soldiers and their armaments inside of it.
The legend of the Trojan Horse captivates our imagination. According to legend, the Greeks tried to conquer the city of Troy, situated on the west coast of Asia Minor around 1200 B.C.
When the people of Troy denied them entry, the Greeks devised a scheme to enter the city by deception. They built a colossal, magnificent horse as a gift to the victorious Trojans.
Virgil described the scene in Aeneid, Book 2 as translated by John Drydan.
"By destiny compell'd, and in despair/ The Greeks grew weary of the tedious war,
And by Minerva's aid a fabric rear'd/ Which like a steed of monstrous height appear'd:
The sides were plank'd with pine/ they feign'd it made
For their return, and this the vow they paid/ Thus they pretend, but in the hollow side
Selected numbers of their soldiers hide:/ With inward arms the dire machine they load,
And iron bowels stuff the dark abode."
Notice the warning they received.
"[...] Laocoon, follow'd by a num'rous crowd/ Ran from the fort, and cried, from far, aloud:
'O wretched countrymen! What fury reigns?/ What more than madness has possess'd your brains?
Think you the Grecians from your coasts are gone?/ And are Ulysses' arts no better known?
This hollow fabric either must inclose/ Within its blind recess, our secret foes;
Or 't is an engine rais'd above the town/ T' o'erlook the walls, and then to batter down.
Somewhat is sure design'd, by fraud or force/ Trust not their presents, nor admit the horse."
(Virgil's Aeneid, Book 2 (trans. John Dryden).
When the Trojans brought the horse into their city, they never realized that enemy troops lurked inside its hollow center. At night, the Greek troops left their hiding place in the horse and captured the City of Troy.
Warning No. 1: Similarity in Christian Assemblies
In similar fashion, false prophets and teachers have invaded Christian congregations of Jesus Christ today. They deceive many and contribute to their spiritual decline.
Jesus warned believers of this danger in the Sermon on the Mount:
"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them (Matt. 7:15-20, KJV).
This passage supplies a clear warning: "Beware of false prophets." They have existed in every generation, and you can recognize them. In fact, if you examine the Scriptures, this is not a new warning to beware of false prophets.
Warning No. 2: Old Testament Prophecies
For example, in the Old Testament at least four stalwart men of God warned of the dangers of false prophets.
- In Deuteronomy 13, Moses talked about the false prophets who would come.
- Elijah made a spectacular appearance on Mount Carmel when he slew hundreds of the false prophets of Baal.
- Jeremiah warned about them and gave some clues that described them.
- Ezekiel warned of false prophets, too.
Throughout the Old Testament, the Bible issues warnings about false prophets and teachers.
Warning No. 3: New Testament Settings
Jesus spoke out against the Scribes and Pharisees, His contemporaries as false teachers.
Paul, the distinguished apostle, warned against them. In his letter to the Galatians, he identified their characteristics. He also wrote his friend, Timothy, and spoke against the false teachers present in the assembly under Timothy's care.
The book of the Revelation gives strong warnings and names false prophets, teachers and leaders. Of the seven letters to the assemblies in Revelation 1-3, 6 of them issue corrections about the false doctrine, errors and treacherous teachers present in those congregations.
Warning No. 4: False Prophets Today
Therefore, this message of the Lord Jesus provides a pertinent message for us. His warning not only proved true in that day, but we need it today.
Yes, false prophets abound in the body of Christ. They hold prominent positions of leadership as pastors and teachers in Christian assemblies.
They profess to follow Christ but preach unbiblical messages that captivate the minds of the unwary and lead them astray. They publish books and promote their counterfeit teachings over television, radio and the internet.
Their influence thwarts conformity to God's Word. Therefore, the congregation of the righteous today faces great injury because of their presence and influence.
Warning No. 5: Effects of False Prophets
Their leadership has brought us to a point where the world disrespects the assembly of the firstborn. Modern cultures have no fear of Christians and mocks them without fear, making fun of the Lord Jesus, the Savior of sinners. They curse His name without rebuke or any kind of chastisement against them.
The spiritual decline of Christian congregations under the influence and leadership of counterfeit prophets has grieved and quenched the Holy Spirit and contributed to its ineffectiveness.
God has withdrawn His glorious, manifest presence. We have replaced it with hype and emotionalism, pathetic replacements for the real presence of God.
Multitudes fill our congregations who think they have experienced salvation, but, instead, have followed a damnable heresy.
Warning No. 6: Biblical Course Of Action
Because of the prevalence of false prophets and teachers and their detrimental influence upon the body of Christ, the followers of Christ must heed His warnings, identify the false leaders and their errors, and refuse to follow them.
I pray that the Holy Spirit will open your eyes to this imminent danger and enable you to turn from it. I pray that God will send His Spirit to correct the Christian congregation, and bring to it the spiritual revival it so desperately needs.
This article comes from the book by Thomas P Hill, Wolves in Sheep's Clothing. You can find additional information on this book at this link: masterministries.org/books/wolves-in-sheeps-clothing.
© Thomas P. Hill
Thomas P. Hill, M. A. in Ministry, Luther Rice Seminary; author of three books: Wolves in Sheep's Clothing; Homosexuality, Christians and the Church; and Keys To A Revolutionary Life (all available online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Tom's web site). To invite Tom to speak at your college, church or group, contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit masterministries.org.
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